News: The boundary dispute between Assam and Mizoram dates back nearly a century and a half. While there have been several showdowns arising out of inter-state disputes between various states of the Northeast, the dispute between Assam and Mizoram has rarely culminated in violence. Yet, it escalated to unprecedented levels on Monday, as firing on the inter-state boundary left at least six Assam policemen dead and over 50 individuals injured.
About the dispute:
Mizoram borders Assam’s Barak Valley, and both border Bangladesh.
The boundary between the two states, which runs 165 km today, has a history dating back to the time when Mizoram was a district of Assam and known as Lushai Hills. Boundary demarcations in 1875 and 1933, particularly the second one, are at the heart of the dispute.
The 1875 demarcation, notified on August 20 that year, derived from the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR) Act, 1873. It differentiated Lushai Hills from the plains of Cachar in Assam’s Barak Valley. This was done in consultation with Mizo chiefs, and it became the basis for the Inner Line Reserve Forest demarcation in the Gazette two years later.
The 1933 demarcation marks a boundary between Lushai Hills and Manipur, beginning at the tri-junction of Lushai Hills, Cachar district and Manipur. The Mizos do not accept this demarcation on the ground that their chiefs were not consulted this time.
According to Mizo leaders, the only acceptable boundary is the Inner Line of 1875 on the southern frontier of Cachar, notified as per the BEFR Act. (This was subsequently revised in 1878 as it sought to demarcate the Lushai Hills frontier from the plains of Assam.)
“The present so-called boundary was arbitrarily made in 1930 and 1933 without the consent and approval of the competent authorities and the people of the Lushai Hills, now Mizoram, thereby unreasonably excluding some of the Lushai inhabited areas such as Cachar Zion, Tlangnuam, Lala Bazar and Banga Bazar,” political parties of Mizoram, NGOs and a joint action committee on the border issue wrote in a memorandum submitted to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2018.
The dispute has been simmering since Mizoram became a Union Territory in 1972 and then a state in the 1980s. The two states signed an agreement that status quo should be maintained at no-man’s land set up in the boundaries. While alleged transgressions have often happened over the decades, skirmishes have happened very frequently in recent months.
While Assam sees its claimed boundary as transgressed, Mizoram cites unilateral moves by Assam inside Mizoram territory.
It alleges that in June last year, Assam officials entered Mamit district and visited some farms; that miscreants entered Kolasib district and burnt down two farm huts; and that Assam officials visited the inter-state border between Vairengte (Mizoram) and Lailapur (Assam) and crossed the duty post manned by the CRPF.
Mizoram claims that both Assam and Mizoram authorities have undertaken construction work at Buarchep village of Mizoram, and that the Home Ministry is aware of all these issues.
2. DHOLAVIRA AS UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE
News: The Congress on Tuesday announced a seven-member committee that will visit the areas affected by the violence over the Assam-Mizoram border dispute.
The IVC acropolis is located on a hillock near present-day Dholavira village in Kutch district, from which it gets its name. It was discovered in 1968 by archaeologist Jagat Pati Joshi.
The site’s excavation between 1990 and 2005 under the supervision of archaeologist Ravindra Singh Bisht uncovered the ancient city, which was a commercial and manufacturing hub for about 1,500 years before its decline and eventual ruin in 1500 BC.
After Mohen-jo-Daro, Ganweriwala and Harappa in Pakistan and Rakhigarhi in Haryana of India, Dholavira is the fifth largest metropolis of IVC.
The site has a fortified citadel, a middle town and a lower town with walls made of sandstone or limestone instead of mud bricks in many other Harappan sites.
Archaeologist Bisht cites a cascading series of water reservoirs, outer fortification, two multi-purpose grounds — one of which was used for festivities and as a marketplace — nine gates with unique designs, and funerary architecture featuring tumulus — hemispherical structures like the Buddhist Stupas— as some of the unique features of the Dholavira site.
While unlike graves at other IVC sites, no mortal remains of humans have been discovered at Dholavira. Bisht says memorials that contain no bones or ashes but offerings of precious stones, etc. add a new dimension to the personality of the Harappans.
Remains of a copper smelter indicate of Harappans, who lived in Dholavira, knew metallurgy.
It is believed that traders of Dholavira used to source copper ore from present-day Rajasthan and Oman and UAE and export finished products. It was also a hub of manufacturing jewellery made of shells and semi-precious stones, like agate and used to export timber.
beads peculiar to the Harappan workmanship have been found in the royal graves of Mesopotamia, indicating Dholavira used to trade with the Mesopotamians.
Its decline also coincided with the collapse of Mesopotamia, indicating the integration of economies. Harappans, who were maritime people, lost a huge market, affecting the local mining, manufacturing, marketing and export businesses once Mesopotamia fell.
From 2000 BC, Dholavira entered a phase of severe aridity due to climate change and rivers like Saraswati drying up. Because of a drought-like situation, people started migrating toward the Ganges valley or towards south Gujarat and further beyond in Maharashtra.
3. CUTLASS EXPRESS, 2021
News: Indian Naval ship Talwar is participating in the Exercise Cutlass Express, 2021, being conducted from July 26 to August 6, along the East Coast of Africa. “The exercise focusses on East Africa’s coastal regions and is designed to assess and improve combined maritime law enforcement capacity, promote national and regional security.
About Cutlass Express 2021:
The exercise focuses on East Africa’s coastal regions and is designed to assess and improve combined maritime law enforcement capacity, promote national and regional security and increase interoperability between the regional navies.
As part of the exercise, the Indian Navy, together with other partners, shall undertake the training of contingents from various participating countries in various fields across the spectrum of maritime security operations.
Information sharing and information flow between various partner countries with respect to maritime domain awareness is also a key focus of the exercise and participation of India’s Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) would contribute to achieving the same.